Risk Assessment - Definitions

Hazard – Something that has the potential to cause harm including ill health, injury, loss of product and/or damage to plant and property e.g. substances, machines, methods of work etc.

Risk – The likelihood of harm occurring and its severity. (Severity x likelihood)

Risk assessment – A careful examination of what in your work could cause harm to people, so you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm

Dynamic risk assessment – In some cases there may be unexpected or short temporary changes that require amendments to be made to risk assessment control measures. Examples could be a change in weather conditions or breakdown of heating. To avoid carrying out a new assessment the "comments" section on the risk assessment form can be used to document any changes

Significant risk – Potential to cause injury or illness.

So far as is reasonably practicable – Assessment of risk should be weighed against the time, effort involved, cost and difficulty of doing anything about it. The risk of not instituting safety measures or controls can be an option if the overall benefit in terms of reducing accidents or improving health and safety conditions is minimal compared with the time, effort, cost and inconvenience of introducing the measures.

Suitable and sufficient risk assessment – The level of detail in a risk assessment should be broadly proportionate to the risk and should;

  • Ensure all relevant hazards are addressed
  • Address what actually happens in workplace or during work
  • Ensure all groups affected are considered taking account of groups who are particularly at risk
  • Take account existing preventative or precautionary measures and identify further measures.

 

Risk controls – Workplace precautions, for example physical safeguards, containment of airborne contaminants and noise, safe systems of work, competency and personal protective equipment.

Risk control systems – Arrangements that ensure the workplace precautions are implemented and kept in place eg. designation of responsibility, training, supervision, work equipment, maintenance, performance measurement, audit, briefing and control of contractors.